With the 2012/2013 financial year coming to end in less than two months, citizens are full of expectation for better times ahead; they are looking forward to programmes that will improve their lives. Triphomus Muyagu caught up with small business operators and now brings you their suggestions:
Margaret Mbabazi, a mushroom grower in Kayonza
The 2013/2014 budget should focus on improving feeder roads so that rural farmers can access markets, especially in Kigali. It should also ensure that we get fertilisers at subsidised prices to boost agriculture production and increase the base for agricultural exports.
Celestine Kayiranga, a crafts seller in Kimironko Market, Gasabo
This year has been good for me. I got a loan and started a business, thanks to the government programme that promotes access to financial services. I expect the 2013/2014 financial year budget to focus on the production sectors and create avenue for the youth to start enterprises to reduce poverty.
Norbert Ndemezo, a traders in Kimironko, Gasabo
I am expecting the 2013/2014 budget to focus on economic transformation, especially through availing more funding to the agricultural sector. Government programmes in 2013/2014 budget should be more practical.
Aisha Ahobantegeye vendors in Biryongo Market, Nyarugenge district
I hope this is the right time the government should do all we have been waiting for. We have complained about hawkers and having a limited market for our goods for long. The government should address these concerns in the coming budget. It should also provide money for skills’ development, especially in financial management and bookkeeping for small-and-medium business operators. We hope the 2013/2014 budget will help expand markets for goods and open doors for more business people to invest in the country. We want the government to encourage more investors to set up small industries to produce household products locally and stop importing. This way, we will not be taxed highly.
Marie Janet Nabagwira, milk seller in Kimironko, Gasabo
We are hoping the 2013/2014 budget will provide funds to train unemployed youth on how to start income-generating projects and manage loans, as well as open doors for more investment in the country and create jobs for Rwandans.
Jasphet Safari, carpenter at KORA
Co-operative in Nyarugenge District
The 2012/2013 budget helped us gain capacity, creativity and innovativeness. We were also able to access loans that have boosted our businesses. So, to cement this achievement, the next budget should invest in technical education to enhance hands-on skills, especially for the unemployed youth. It should also allocate money to expand markets for locally-made goods and services.
‘New budget should focus on energy, skills devt’
Financial institutions want the forthcoming national budget focus more on rural electrification and programmes that will equip people with financial management skills.
“The next national budget should put emphasis on financial capacity building in the banking sector by conducting more professional financial management trainings. This is because if money is not handled professionally, the result might be catastrophic to the whole economy,” Francis Mworozi, the chief accountant at the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), noted in an interview with Business Times.
He added that the forthcoming budget must address the issue of investment loans.
“Many times people can’t access loans because they have no collateral. The budget should focus on how to address this problem.”
“It’s only when people can access loans easily that they can meaningfuly participate in economic development,” Mworozi said.
Peter Rwema, the director of research and development at the Association of Microfinance Institutions of Rwanda, said the 2013/2014 budget should allocate more funds to develop the energy sector. “As micro-finance, our area of operation is mainly rural and, therefore, to extend our financial services to the rural communities, the question of electricity has to be solved first. This will help improve our operations, especially through computerisation,” Rwema said.
He noted that if rural electrification is prioritised, people’s desire to start income-generating activities would multiply.
“When people have electricity, they will automatically need financial services so that they can start up business. This is another area where micro-finance institutions would benefit from. These institutions use computers and other software that need electricity. Therefore, investing in the energy sector will make the difference.”